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CFOs from these companies say they will increase their investment in AI/ML this year and at the same time prioritize their cybersecurity.

Manufacturers will be stepping up their use of data intelligence this year. But at the same time, manufacturers may not share as much digital data as before because of rising concern over cyberattacks and data breaches, says a new survey of 100 manufacturing chief financial officers by accounting and consulting firm BDO.

Half of all manufacturing CFOs (47%) say their organization will increase investment in AI or machine learning this year and at the same time prioritize their data maturity, says BDO.

“AI is more easily deployable for repetitive tasks where the variables are consistent, such as compliance and reporting,” says BDO. “The more complex an operation, such as monitoring physical machinery, the more AI needs to be trained to properly execute. However, the potential benefits of integrating AI into manufacturers’ physical operations are significant.”

Manufacturers balance feeding data to AI with cybersecurity concerns

While the use of AI across multiple parts of the organization will increase next year, many manufacturers are wary of sharing more digital data, according to the survey.


“As continuing global geopolitical conflicts intensify the risk landscape, cybersecurity remains a top priority,” BDO says. “As a result, in 2024 manufacturers will deprioritize building the digital thread and focus on internal information transparency and security. AI performs best when it has access to more data — but sharing data with customers and vendors opens manufacturers up to increased cyber and data privacy risk.”

In the future, many manufacturers will accelerate using AI applications in their production process.

“In addition to leveraging generative AI, manufacturers will use inputs from computer vision and other sensors to integrate AI with physical machinery,” BDO says. “These technologies should be closely tied to manufacturers’ business strategies and enhancing their value proposition to stakeholders, such as through enabling a safer work environment, improving service levels, or developing a cost advantage in the marketplace.”

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